The Temple of Sad Old Men and the Course of Nature

Here in the wreckage
Here in this silent cavern of debris and an arcane engineering beauty
The Post Industrial Wreckage Warehouse
wherein reside the retro-future promises
made to the boys coming back
from the atrocities of the Second War Against Humanity

If I sit here long enough. . .
If I let the water drip clock echoes mark off enough thuds of my heart
If I lay on the floor and make filth angels

He will find me
He will come unto me and bless me with a clean white house
in a quiet, safe neighborhood
in the shiny city of dreams
in the land of fine appliances

This was supposed to be the Day
The beginning
But this Temple. . .
is corrupted

Oh look
Oh sweet Heavens above
Bring on the clowns. . .

Clown dancers
in bird costumes come down the escalators on the golden pyramids
And while there is no music you can hear
The old clowns spin and whirl around their temple
Round and round
All around
(I hate clowns)

“This can’t be happening,” they sing
“This is the end of the World”
At first they hey all watch patiently
As one by one
Each of them takes a turn at the apex
Decrying the fall of the Western Empire
But as their voices are amplified
by echo boxes they start trying to Trump each other

Who can summon the most existential threat
(extra points of you make a lie sound real good)
In their post-sexual frenzy they try. . . so . . . harrrdddd
Over and over
They draw pictures of Chaos in the sands pounded flat by years of such dances

The mad god Chaos
with whirling eyes and drool running down its quivering chins
and really bad. . . hair

They shout
“The thunder will eat our ears
And rot our brains”
As though Fear wouldn’t do the same

“This can’t be happening,” they sing
“This is the end of the Republic, end of the World”
“We must never fund the arts!”

They put their heads in burlap sacks
And run into one another
(I saw this once)

And you chuckle at first
I mean crap
this is really bad comedy
Pincer. . .
You can’t make this crap up
You can fake it

But if you are patient
you will notice that
The Moon rises
As it should
The Stars wheel
And preen
As they should
The Sun returns
The Cosmic Wheel turns . . .
Just as it always has . . .

Just as it always will


The Lady says
“His soul drifts somewhere within the waters of stillness
Fetal curled amid clouds of billowing white
he falls through a summer sky.”

Donzela sees into his soul
it almost kills her

The Lady says
“Fear not
he is still numbered among the living
He is only sleeping.”

Donzela applies her hand
to the seared flesh across his heart
Winces as she takes the injury into her own hand
The Lady places her hand on Donzela’s
sending the injury away

They mend the burns and gashes
They straighten the right leg and mend the bones
The right shoulder is restored

Potions for fever and building blood in him are forced
Some time near noon the next day
both women fall of exhaustion

The savant lies peacefully
His breath ebbing and flowing
Yet his face is troubled. . .

In Donzela’s dream the Lady says
“He is quiet
but given the suffering of his Living Hell
one might wonder at the intent of those who would call such continuance a blessing.
Given the nature of his nightmares
perhaps it were better he snap erect
and scream till all wind leaves his lungs.”

Donzela says
“How can there be sense in this kind of anguish?

The Lady says
For all its discussion
Tells the body to avoid something
Hit your hand
Hurt your hand
Don’t hit your hand again . . .

But there is pain
Pain that makes no sense
Gut wrenching
Everlasting PAIN

And you have to ask
Where is the wisdom in this?”

The Lady

Secret hearts and tales of sorrow
Patina of her world
Once an eon ago her eyes could see color
Could see the way the world turned in both day and night
Now she sees only darkness and sorrow

One should never cast spells of love
for such devices need something to push against
lest balance be lost
and the world spiral into the suns

She holds the pain in her abdomen
for fear of losing it
and in that
losing herself

She navigates the residence
by the increments of her pain compass
Steers herself through the passages and catacombs
by the memories of the seas in night

Something moves in the yard
and she stands in shock. . .

Something has happened and she didn’t see it
Donzela (her tyro) is bringing a. . .
is bringing a man through the wards?
What can this mean?
What can this portend?

Careless in the way she passes through the walls
the Lady enters the kitchen

Donzela is cleaning his face with a dishrag

Broken and Bleeding at the Stable Door

Donzela enters the barn
(evening duties are so peaceful )

Traveler is not in his stall
and something stinks of. . . blood?

A wizard!
(a bit young for a wizard, don’t you think?)
A savant
bleeding in the bedding straw

She shrieks
Runs to him
Brushes the straw away
getting blood all over her

Two sisters arrive and scream at her to get away
They think he has hurt her when they see the blood
Donzela tries to lift him
then commands that they assist her

They reluctantly drag him through the wards protecting the residence
into the kitchen
onto the oaken planked cooking table

In a trice the savant is naked
The major injuries are staunched and poulticed
Medicines and spell parchment are sought, pilfered and applied

Donzela retrieves clean sheets and a serviceable blanket
When she enters the room the sisters are twittering like baby birds
She sends them to finish her chores in the barn
reminding them to look for Traveler before feeding the other mounts

One offers her bed for the savant’s recuperation
Donzela is not amused

Solar Family

The sun comes up tomorrow
Seen and unseen
It is warm
unstoppable as death
or tooth decay

Extreme light can be deadly serious
Your eyes blinded in the looking
yet you can not see without it

Hear the corona thundering?
Can you feel the violence on your skin?
Your mother protects you
from your angry father
She is nourished by his blood
and in her dance sustains you

Your older sister
powders her face and dances
Appreciate her
as neither your father nor mother can
Speak quietly and respectfully in her presence

Sing to your siblings
the wind, the rain and the stars
Not so much for them
as for yourself

Those Who Form

The clear waters of the lake form a mirror image of the shimmering scarlets and glimmering golds of the maples on the far lakeside. He always likes to walk by the lake when discussing things of import.
She reflects on the lake, reflects on the way tiny wind fairies break the sky into a mosaic of autumnal chaos and reflects on the clement day. She says, “I fear the wrong that I might do if I just let myself run wild. I am afraid of the unintended evil I might work.” She hurls a stone, skipping it further than you might expect.
He says, “For every angel created, a demon must be dealt with. This is after all, the way that balance is maintained.” He producers a York apple (her favorite) with a magician’s flair, she passes and he sequesters the apple as though it had never existed.
She says, “I want to be a good person, a creative person, creating many things of lasting beauty.”
He pulls a journal from inside his jacket and makes a big deal out of searching the pages. At last he sighs with satisfaction as he extracts, from between the pages, her schemagram, the chimera one. The creature seems to wake up when light hits it. He scratches one of its chins (he has those gloves that look like the tips have been cut off), and its purr is the rustle of dry paper. She giggles despite herself. The creature jumps off the page and runs across the lake, disappearing on the far side.
He says, “The only thing that endures is the instant that beauty strikes. This is a difficult lesson for those of us who Form.”

They walk in silence, the silence of rustling leaves and lapping waters. He eats the apple.
The westering sun explains the time and they turn back toward the transport. She says, “I’m reaching a point where I may be dangerous. I see the pathways that you spoke about when first we met, the pathways beyond number. Perhaps I take my responsibility too seriously . . .Is it ok for me to take this path?”
He says, “What? Are you running off into the woods?”
“Silly, of course not. I will be assigned soon. I will be walking the pathway of Artificer and I would like to think that I might be good at it.”
He says, “There is a terrible beauty in the way fire burns. In the way a knife cuts. In the way storms build over the oceans. For me, the real question in any tragedy is whether the actors had any real choice in the play.”
He hurls a rock and it skips out of sight. He says, “If you take this path, or if you do not, you will still be you and though there is a bitter sadness in this, it is also your greatest triumph.”
The sun has set, but the sky and his eyes still glow.
He says “Yes, it is right and proper that you seek your destiny, for it shall find you whatever you choose.”